Absolute Territory Dev Diary April 2019

This is going to be a short dev diary. I have to admit it feels a little strange to be writing one so far in development and as a first on here. I’ve been posting GIF’s like the one below on Twitter and IMGUR and a few people have been making references to Wing Commander and X-Wing games.

Hit and run

Back in the 90’s, Wing Commander was my goto game. You can make a lot of comparisons on this GIF alone. However, while I may be aiming for a similar art style I want game mechanics that are more modern.

One obvious to spot modern mechanic is the lead targeting. The X-Wing games where a frustrating experience to me, trying to shoot down fighters without knowing where to lead my shots against fast moving targets. The guns will also swivel, to a degree, so you don’t need to have pin point accuracy. Just put the yellow marker close to the cross hairs and start firing.

Lead targeting and gun tracking

The game also has Newtonian physics for movement and rotation. Now I can hear some groans but let me assure you this is not realistic Newtonian physics. Sure it takes time for your ship to start travelling on a new forward direction after making a 90 degree turn but I’m aiming between realism and arcade so you can have fun with drifts and use directional thrusters to evade weapon fire and line up perfect shots without having to perform another bombing run.

If you ever played the Freespace series of space combat games you’d remember the dizzying amount of keyboard controls. While AT hasn’t quite reached that amount or complexity there are quite a few. I’m not sure how I will handle this with Joypad users, as currently using button modifiers is not an option, but for HOTAS users it shouldn’t be too problematic if you have enough buttons. I will have to see and make considerations once all features have been locked down.

Currently I have been working on adding visual effects for weapon hits against shields and armour and engine trails. Next up will be adding more choosing and adding more suitable sound effects, I’m no sound engineer, which directed me to purchase several sound FX packages. Once in I’ll move from GIF’s to short video’s so that the audio can be shown off, which will also improve the visual quality which gets nerfed by GIF compression.

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